A good designer is an absolute wizard with their sewing machine, and brilliant designer is a master with their sewing needle. With the advent of the sewing machine back in 1790, over time, hand sewing withered away, appreciated by a few, and replaced by the modern machine. But let’s not forget, we’ve hand-sewing our clothes for thousands of years. If you ever make the leap from hobby sewing to couture sewing, learning how to hands-sew is a requirement, and is often essential in finishing a garment.
Couture sewing aside, hand-sewing, or hand-stitching as it’s often called, is commonly used to stitch items together before they are finished with a machine, finish an item, and attaching fasteners. There are several different stitches that can be used to accomplish all of the above, and here are some that may help you with your newest project.
This is one of the most important stitches you’ll ever use, and the easiest. I use the basting stitch to ensure that the seam on my piece are fitting correctly, and that I’ve put darts in the right place. This is a good practice to get into the habit of before you finish your piece with a machine so you don’t risk ruining the fabric by making a mistake. Basting is also great for working with slippery fabric. Satins and silks can sometimes bunch, gather and slip in places you don’t want it to, and basting it before you finish it. I’m also a big fan of basting for holding a zipper in place, before attaching my zipper foot to my Janome.
Another incredibly useful basting stitch, is the diagonal basting stitch. I use this form of basting stitch when I’m trying to hold together several pieces of fabric or if I am working with an unusually thick fabric. It’s more stable and just as easy to remove after you’ve finished with a machine. The thicker the fabric, the larger your stitches should be. If you need to sew a blind hem, though you can do it with a machine, I prefer to hand-sew it. For a tutorial on how to master this ultra useful stitch, check out this video.